Residents welcome council rejection of turbine proposals

PLANS to build wind turbines near Beccles were turned down this week to the delight of campaigners against the proposals.

More than 100 people attended an extraordinary meeting of Waveney District Council’s development control committee at Beccles Public Hall to hear a decision on the plans submitted by green energy company Stamford Renewables.

The company was seeking planning permission to build three groups of three turbines at Devonshire Farm and Granary Farm, Ringsfield, and Laurels Farm, Barsham.

There had been strong opposition to the plans, and they had been recommended for refusal by council officers.

After a lengthy meeting, all three applications were refused. The main grounds for rejection included their potential impact on the local landscape, noise, the absence of wintering bird surveys and the impact on two church buildings listed for their architectural and historical interest.

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Philip Johnson, of HALT, a residents’ group formed to fight the plans, said after the meeting on Monday: “We are very pleased and relieved that the development control committee has followed Waveney planning’s recommendations and refused planning permission for these three sites.

“As you can imagine, many residents of Ringsfield, Barsham and Beccles have had this threat hanging over them for three years, and so this victory is very welcome.

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“However, the developer has always maintained that he will appeal against a refusal decision, and so we are preparing and raising funds for the next round, which will be a public inquiry. We are confident that the inspector will find in our favour.”

Mike Stamford, chief executive of Stamford Renewables, said: “We are extremely disappointed that Waveney District Council did not take the opportunity to play a pivotal and significant role in building the economic and energy future for the Waveney district and for the UK as a whole.”

He added that, by refusing the applications, people had been denied secure energy-related jobs in Waveney, nearly �1.5m from all three projects over 25 years and the opportunity to enhance the security of the region’s electricity supply. “We will be studying the written judgment of the development control committee very carefully and considering our next steps over the coming weeks,” he said.

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